Connecticut is allegedly one of the most haunted states in nation, so we thought it might be time to take inventory of some of the best-known ghosts, spirits, poltergeists and other entities from beyond.
We’ve always thought it was interesting that the alleged ghosts of particular haunts are identified, despite any real tangible evidence or reliable method for specifically determining the human identity of a departed soul. It’s also never really made sense why a soul once disconnected from its earthly body and free to roam the universe would stick around in a single spot for decades, but as we’ve never been dead, we don’t exactly know the rules involved with afterlife mobility . . . .
Nonetheless, some of the supposed spirits at various locales around Connecticut have been “identified.” Others have not been formally named, but the notoriety associated with the supposed haunting cases have made them “famous,” in a way.
Well, named or not, we thought we’d look at 10 of the most popular “entities” around Connecticut—although we number them from 1 to 10, that’s not really an official ranking of any sort. Really, how can you really rate something that may or may not exist?
Anyway, have fun checking out the list. Of course, it is subjective—we’re not the ultimate authorities (on anything), and always welcome debate! Feel free to share your comments below.
1. The White Lady, Union Cemetery, Easton & Stepney Cemetery, Monroe – Seen, photographed and videotaped by dozens of witnesses (including the late Ed Warren, who is responsible for her being so well known) at Union Cemetery in Monroe, the identity of the White Lady has been debated for decades. Some believe that she is the soul of a woman who murdered her husband in the 1940s; others think that she had been murdered and her body dumped in the sinkhole behind the adjacent Easton Baptist Church. Others yet claim that she died during child birth and is spending eternity searching for her lost child.
The White Lady has been spotted walking among the gravestones and occasionally floating above them, and has also allegedly been seen on Route 59, terrorizing unsuspecting motorists. She is often described as wearing a long white gown (no surprise) and having dark hair.
Although she is known for her antics at Union Cemetery, there are those who claim to have also seen her at nearby Stepney Cemetery, which is the final resting place of Ed Warren, who might now have the long sought-after answer to her identity . . . not that he can do anything with it (that we know about).
2. Ernie, New London Ledge Lighthouse – Believed to be the ghost of a former lighthouse keeper, “Ernie” has been investigated by numerous paranormal teams including SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” team in 2009. Some witnesses have claimed to see a tall, bearded man in a slicker and rain hat, and there have been numerous supposed unexplained incidents logged by visitors, including doors randomly slamming shut, objects moving of their own volition, electronic devices malfunctioning and the lighthouse’s foghorn sounding on its own,
The legend is that in life Ernie was a keeper of the light who jumped to his death after discovering his wife was having an affair with a local ferry captain. As it turns out, no evidence has ever been produced to confirm or deny this, so Ernie’s true identity may never be known.
3. The Lindley Street poltergeist, Bridgeport – One of the first and best documented paranormal investigations in state history—Bill Hall’s The World’s Most Haunted House comes out in August—the bizarre happenings that occurred during 1974 in a modest home on Lindley Street in Bridgeport became an international media sensation. Dozens of people would often stand in the road in front of the house, hoping to see something weird.
The incident began after a young couple called in police after they began to experience a number of unusual events, which allegedly included bizarre sounds and items being moved around by unseen forces. Citing the possibility of a demonic presence in the house, the Warrens were soon called in and an “official” paranormal investigation was launched. It was soon believed that a poltergeist had attached itself to the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, so efforts were immediately made to rid the house of the evil spirit.
Eventually, the unexplained activities and hype died down, and the supposed haunting seemed to be over.
4. The Haunting in Connecticut entity, Southington – Another sensational ghost story from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, this unnamed malevolent spirit was at the center of unusual happenings during the mid-1980s that terrorized the Snedeker family—and eventually horror movie fans. (Look for mention of Damned Connecticut in the DVD extras!)
According to the Snedeker Family, shortly after moving into a house that formerly was the Hallahan Funeral Home, strange things allegedly started happening, focused primarily around their teenaged son. A shadowy figure was seen in the room that had been the mortuary, lights went off and on by themselves, foul smells were abundant and all sorts of supernatural hijinx supposedly happened, culminating in what was believed to be demonic possession. The call went out again to the Warrens, an exorcist was soon summoned in and things seemed to diminish a bit.
However, the family didn’t feel comfortable in the house and eventually moved out. Ultimately, the situation became a bit of a controversy as author Ray Garton, who was hired by Ed Warren to chronicle the case, claimed that he was told to take whatever dramatic license was necessary to make the story scary.
Regardless, the case has become one of the more sensational in the state’s history.
5. The Green Lady, Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery, Burlington – Appearing to most visitors of this isolated graveyard as an eerie green mist that transforms into a smiling woman who then quickly disappears, the Green Lady is believed to the manifestation of a young Colonial-era woman who may have died under tragic circumstances.
The ancient cemetery, which dates at least back to the 1700s, contains a number of fallen and illegible stones. One that still stands and can be read, however, is that of Elisabeth Parmiter, who passed away in 1800 at the age of 30, and it is she who is believed to be the Green Lady. One legend is that after her husband Benjamin didn’t return as scheduled from a trip, a panicked Elisabeth went out to find him and instead found her own death by drowning in a nearby swamp. Another version tells that Elisabeth was murdered by her husband, who created the storm story as an excuse to dispose of her corpse in the swamp.
Either way, there are those who believe that the Green Lady still roams the earth, maybe seeking justice for her untimely demise.
6. Andy, Sterling Opera House, Derby – Derby’s 125-year-old Sterling Opera House is one of the most investigated sites in the state. In addition to SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” in 2011, numerous paranormal investigation teams have spent time in the opera house to try and uncover evidence of ghosts.
Most of the efforts are focused on “Andy,” who is believed to be the spirit of a young boy who inhabits the structure—some have reported seeing the ghosts of a Victorian-era woman and child. Tennis balls and other objects have been set up for the entity to interact with, and the occasional alleged result has been recorded.
EVPs, children’s handprints in the dust, spirit orbs and mists, shadow figures and the movement of placed balls are among the manifestations believed to be evidence of Andy.
7. Annabelle, Warren Occult Museum, Monroe – Hey look, another high-profile spirit connected to the Warrens!
Anyone who has basic knowledge of Ed and Lorraine’s long history investigating paranormal claims knows of Annabelle, the giant Raggedy Ann doll that is supposedly possessed by an evil spirit. The story is that the doll was once a gift, but because of a seance involving a ouija board gone awry, it became host to a demon. It allegedly starting moving around on its own, sent cryptic messages, psychically attacked anyone who challenged it and ultimately was blamed for causing the death of a young man who taunted it.
A priest was eventually called in and an exorcism was performed on Annabelle. The doll now resides in the Warrens’ special occult museum in a specially made case, which allegedly restrains the evil spirit from causing more harm.
8. Alice, The Yankee Pedlar Inn, Torrington – Another Connecticut ghost story immortalized in celluloid.
The Inn Keepers is based on the supposed actual haunting of The Yankee Pedlar. Paranormal events have been alleged in the hotel for decades, from spirits and orbs to disembodied voices and unseen forces jostling guests and employees. Although there are believed to be multiple denizens of the ectoplasmic realm on the premises, the best-known one is that of Alice Conley, the former owner of the hotel who was reported to have died in Room 353.
In the lobby is Alice’s favorite rocking chair, which witnesses have said to have observed moving on its own. A sign now sits on the cordoned off chair, warning guests to stay away or risk Alice’s wrath.
9. The Phelps Mansion poltergeist, Stratford – One of Connecticut’s oldest ghost tales is one of its most enduring.
On the morning of March 10, 1850, the Phelps family returned after church services to their stately Stratford home to find it in complete disarray—clothes strewn about the house, possessions dumped on the floor, furniture overturned. The Phelps family straightened up the mess, but it was just the beginning of their troubles. Over the next six months, odd things beset the family, including effigies of the family mysteriously appearing in rooms, windows breaking and unexplained noises occurring.
The Phelps family moved to Philadelphia for the winter of 1850-51, and when they returned to Stratford the next spring, all the bizarre activity had ended as abruptly as it had started. The legend, however, has lingered for more than a century and a half.
10. Midnight Mary, Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven – From the scant accounts available, the 48 years of Mary Hart’s life was quite unremarkable; it was the debated circumstances of her death that has made her a New Haven legend. The inscription on her tombstone, although biblical, contains the line: “The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away.” And that’s where the speculation—and ghost stories—began.
Mary died at midnight on October 15, 1872, and was quickly buried. However, the story goes, that one of her aunts had a dream that Mary was still alive, so the coffin was dug up—and what they found was that Mary was still dead, except the inside of the coffin was shredded, as if someone had been trying to get out. Buried alive?
None of the story has been confirmed (or denied), but it feed into people’s imaginations, and soon sightings of a mysterious, ethereal woman around the graveyard were reported. There were also unsubstantiated stories of college students trying to spend the night at the grave, only to be found dead—from fear.
Something about Mary?
Honorable Mention: The Black Dog, West Peak, Meriden – All the other ghosts on this list are supposedly former humans, but one of our favorite Connecticut ghost stories concerns the Black Dog of West Peak.
The legend is that if you’re out hiking on the hanging hills of Meriden, out near Castle Craig on West Peak, and you encounter a small black vaguely spaniel-like canine—beware!
Stories of the elusive (but supposedly friendly) spectre date back to the 1800s, and it is said if you meet it once, you will have good luck. If you encounter it a second time, you will “meet sorrow.” Run into it a third time and a tragic death—yours—will follow.
Of course, there are anecdotes about the curse of the Black Dog, but no actual evidence. But then again, when has that ever hampered a good ghost story?